Pension protection

January 26, 2012

At its special meeting last Friday, the national executive committee of the University and College Union rejected the government's heads-of-agreement offer on the Teachers' Pension Scheme. The offer made no significant changes to the coalition's previous proposals. The NEC also decided to continue industrial action in defence of the TPS and to seek coordination with the other teacher unions.

Urgent discussions with our sister unions will take place over the next two weeks. As part of a wider programme, the next day of national strike action by the UCU is scheduled for 1 March, and it has invited other "rejectionist" unions to join in.

The attack on our pensions, which could result in teachers working an extra three years (or longer), paying greater contributions and receiving smaller benefits, has been seen as part of a general government attack on post-16 education. The TPS offer is particularly divisive in that older lecturers are offered some protection while younger members would feel the full brunt of these detrimental plans.

The pensions changes would certainly facilitate the privatisation ambitions stated in the government's higher education White Paper.

The increased contributions, from 6.4 per cent of salaries to 9.6 per cent, can accurately be described as an additional tax that the government is imposing on members of the TPS. However, the scheme is not in deficit but in substantial annual surplus! The only beneficiaries under the offer would be the employers, as their contributions would fall from 14.1 per cent to 12.1 per cent.

While reaffirming its commitment to ballot members if there is a significant new offer from the government, the national executive, in line with the National Union of Teachers and the Public and Commercial Services Union, has decided not to ballot now as the heads-of-agreement offer does not represent a substantial improvement.

The executive urges every TPS branch and region of the UCU to hold meetings to reflect on its decision, to consider how best to build the campaign locally and nationally, and to hold local discussions with other unions.

The NEC will reconvene in special session on 10 February to consider a report from Sally Hunt, the general secretary, on the response of the other unions plus the reports from branch and regional meetings. We urge every educationalist, whether a UCU member or not, to get involved in this campaign: while its direct focus is the TPS, it also has ramifications for the very nature of our colleges and universities.

Jane Hardy, NEC (writing in a personal capacity), University and College Union

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy